the process

WET PLATE COLLODION

Frederic Scott Archer introduced his invention to the public in 1851, in the March issue of The Chemist. He published the method without patenting it,  and thus ‘gave’ the process to the people for free. 

Photography, as we know it today, is a result of nearly 200 years of evolution. The historical wet plate collodion process is one of the oldest photographic techniques invented, and certainly, the first to be popularised and widely practised.

'invented in London in 1851'

life long learning

The wet plate collodion process is peculiar and cumbersome. Often moody yet inspiring and fascinating. It requires tremendous patience, vigilance and more than a touch of dexterity. The basics are easy enough to grasp, but mastering the technique takes a lifetime.

'democratisation 
of photography'

After its invention in the early 1850s, the process quickly became the superior method of image-making around the world, pushing the previously popular daguerrotypes out of the market. 

 

Initially, ambrotypes were affordable only by the elites but, during the time of the American Civil War, tintypes were introduced - which solely replaced glass backing with thin metal. This subtle alteration made photography accessible even to a regular soldier - hence it became a truly democratic medium.

The wet plate process held its glory until the late 1880s, when it slowly gave way to the new and superior dry plate, or silver gelatine process. By the end of the 19th century, it was all but forgotten. 

PORTRAITS

at the corner of

Alchemy and Craftsmanship

Workshops

​Are you looking to extend your range of professional skills or simply want to have fun experiencing something new and exciting?

During the 2 Day Workshop, we will look back across history as a small group and learn Where Photography Comes From. You will gain a solid understanding of the nature and importance of each step of the photographic process. We will have the opportunity to smell everything from ether to lavender, and learn how to mix the necessary chemicals to achieve optimum results. Your hands will get dirty practising all of the required techniques; from the cutting of the glass plates, through to developing them, and then applying the last coat of varnish. 

Your new skills will finally be implemented to produce several tintypes and ambrotypes, both indoors using studio lights, as well as outdoors using natural light.